December is right around the corner, and it doesn't look to be a big offseason for free agents. Matt Holliday and Jason Bay will land somewhere, but other than that, it will be a lot of mediocre relievers and solid infielders changing teams but not changing the 2010 outlook very much. Stay tuned to The Commish Online in December for a couple in-depth reports on things like the so-called Cubs curse and other items.
The awards have been rolling out this week, with Zack Greinke winning the AL Cy Young Award while Tim Lincecum took him the NL Cy Young for the second year in a row. Combined, the two pitchers had just 31 wins, but it's nice to see the writers recognize the best pitching performances in each league. If it were all about wins only, then mediocre pitchers for the Yankees would always be in the running because it wouldn't take nearly the performance to win 20 games on a team with a much higher caliber offense. While Wainwright and Carpenter were deserving as well, it's hard to argue with the results.
With Mark McGwire in line to be St. Louis' new hitting coach, I am anxious to see what kind of advice McGwire can possibly give to Albert Pujols when Prince Albert goes into a mini 0-8 slump. How does a former hitter with the ability to only hit the home run teach a current hitter who possesses the ability to hit every way imaginable? This isn't so much a knock on McGwire - there are hitting coaches with far worse hitting credentials than Big Mac - I just find it interesting when coaches with middling talent need to convince the top talents that there is more to learn. Pujols is a good study, so he won't be the problem, but you can see why there is a lot of disrespect in professional sports nowadays. A little talent goes a long ways for an ego.
Side note: hard to believe, but it was eight years ago today that McGwire unofficially announced his retirement. It just doesn't seem that long.
Not a single game was decided by less than two runs, but it was still an exciting World Series. On Godzilla's back, the Yankees defeated the Phillies 7-3 last night to earn the 27th World Series title in franchise history. Philadelphia fell short of back-to-back championships, but credit the New York Yankees for a team effort resulting in a Game 6 victory and a scheduled parade on Friday.
So far my prediction of a split in New York and the Yankees taking two of three in Philly has come true. For baseball's sake, I hope I'm wrong about picking New York in six because a Game 7 with so many unknowns (such as Philly's starting pitcher) would be great to see. It's just a hunch, but I really worry about the 1st inning with Pedro tonight. If he can somehow get through that initial inning unscathed, I think the Phillies have a good chance of wearing down Pettitte and the bullpen so that Rivera doesn't become a factor.
Tonight Cliff Lee tries to prevent another lopsided World Series finish. While the task at hand is tough, it's not completely impossible. Lee, dominant in his last outing, is favored tonight. If the Phillies win, the series would be moving along according to my prediction (although many of the details changed). I expected a NY split, then I thought the Yankees would take 2 of 3 in Philly. With an expected win tonight, Philadelphia only needs to scare up some magic for two days. Difficult? Yes. Impossible? Hardly.
Breaking it down, the Phillies would need to jump on Burnett early in Game 6, and a victory would suddenly put all the pressure on the Yankees and Sabathia, who would be starting Game 7 on 3 days rest again. Philly showed they could score off CC last night, but a left handed hitter other than Utley will need to step in to produce the kind of sustained rally they would need to win a Game 7 on the road. That's still about a half-dozen "ifs" away, so for now, buckle down and enjoy tonight's game. Hopefully it won't be the last.